Three weeks ago, I took a short trip to an amala joint in the Onipanu area of Lagos. An IG influencer had visited the spot and raved about how good and, most importantly, affordable the food was. So, I carried my ₦1k to the place and even had an extra ₦500 in case I was tempted to splurge. After completing my order, my bill came to a staggering ₦3500. How can?
It turned out the protein servings gulped half of my bill, and while it looked like I’d splurged unnecessarily on meat, it now seems inconsequential compared to these individuals’ biggest food expenses.
I once visited a random amala spot in Ibadan during a work trip. It wasn’t one of the popular spots, but they had quite a crowd, indicating that they did something right. I didn’t think to ask about the prices when I ordered because I assumed everything there would be cheap. I mean, it’s Ibadan and it wasn’t a fancy spot.
I bought assorted, bush meat and goat meat along with semo. When I asked for my bill, the attendant said ₦7500. I wasn’t sure I heard correctly, so I asked again, and then she broke down the price of everything on my plate. Apparently, bushmeat sold for ₦2500, and I bought two.
I once took my friends out to an amala spot in Surulere. I’d just been promoted at work, and they insisted I celebrated. I chose the buka because I thought it’d be cheaper and I wouldn’t have to spend too much. Everyone got turkey, assorted meat and brokoto (cow leg) with their swallow of choice. The bill came, and it was around ₦25k. When I checked, about ₦18k of the total amount was the cost of meat. I paid, but I didn’t leave the place smiling.
We had this family function in Ogun state sometime in 2022. Some of my mum’s friends arrived late when the caterers had already run out of meat. There was rice, amala and porridge, but nothing else to accompany it. I saw how distressed my mum was, and it was also quite obvious that the people that just arrived were hungry. I remembered I’d seen a suya guy setting up some blocks away from the event centre, so I went to buy from him. He was reluctant to sell his entire stock to me so I ended up buying ₦30k worth of suya.
I once hosted my birthday at a local nightclub back in uni. Most of the day was stressful because I had a series of tests and had to submit assignments. When I returned to the hostel, my friends dragged me to the club with a plan to have some drinks and suya.
Unfortunately, the suya guy didn’t come, and we were left with just drinks. The owner of the place overheard us grumbling, about this and mentioned that she had asun. I don’t know if it was the birthday excitement, hunger or just the alcohol talking, but I told her to bring the entire pot of asun. When we finished and asked for the price, the asun alone was ₦25k. I’m sure it wasn’t more than ₦10-15k asun in that pot, but I didn’t bother pricing. I paid, and we left. I woke up the following day remembering how stupid I was to squander ₦25k on mid asun.
I was staying with a friend in Abuja for the festive season. I stepped out one night for a walk, and on my way back I saw this nice suya spot. I had ₦2k with me, which would’ve been more than enough to buy suya in Lagos. I got to this aboki and requested chicken suya. I heard him charge another guy ₦400 for two sticks of suya so I bought five sticks each for myself and my friend. When it was time to pay, this guy returned my ₦2k and said my money wasn’t complete.
I was confused until he explained a stick was ₦1k. He refused when I tried to return the suya, and insisted I paid. Baba collected his complete ₦10k. I ate the suya with an aftertaste of regret in my mouth.
I’ll always tell anyone I know to hold money when you go to these bukkas in remote villages and ask questions about the meat. Last year during a work trip to Oyo, I and a friend had to split an unexpected ₦12k bill. Turned out they served an assorted mix of bush and antelope meat. Those things don’t come cheap.
What does your budget for meat look like? You’ll find out at our upcoming meat festival in Lagos. Grab tickets to Burning Ram here.